Santa Barbara's pride: Queen
of California missions
November 21, 2008 | Santa Barbara, the American Riviera,
is the venue of some o California's most exquisite landscape
and interesting places to visit.
The beaches alone are worth enjoying. The city of
Santa Barbara is home to the Santa Barbara Zoo, Stern's
Wharf, State Street, and
the Mission Santa Barbara . All of these sites are
worth dedicating an afternoon to explore and experience,
but the Mission Santa Barbara, also called Queen of
the Missions, remains in a league of its own. It is
an incredible piece of history and remains a popular
tourist spot in Santa Barbara.
The Mission, which was founded on Dec. 4, 1786, is
the oldest post Columbian structure in the area. The
history is rich and mixes the stories of the colonial
Spaniards and the local native people called the Chumash.
The mission today still serves as an operational Catholic
church that regularly holds Mass. The mission grounds
also houses a homeless shelter and drug and alcohol
facility. Although the mission has survived over 200
years it remains a constant prey to the hostile and
volatile California wildfires.
This year is no different than ones from the past.
The week of November 9, saw wildfires devastate the
town of Montecito which borders Santa Barbara and is
within 10 miles of the Old Mission.
Daniel Carrol, project technician, said, "The mission
received no harm from the fire. The smoke and ash also
was not an issue. The only glitch we saw was our power
was shut off for two hours. The numbers of visitors
to our homeless and drug and alcohol facilities remained
steady." This historic landmark has fared another fire
scare and has emerged virtually unaffected.
The Mission Santa Barbara has weathered two centuries
of earthquakes and fires and even a tidal wave which
reached the steps of the cathedral. Although minor damage
has been attributed to these natural occurrences over
the years one difficult fire season could reduce the
historic structure to ruins. The Mission Santa Barbara
is worth an afternoon
if you ever visit the
Santa Barbara area . In fact, if you are ever near
the coast between San Diego and San Francisco you can
be within a short distance of any of
California's historic 21 Missions .